Changes to planning laws could put more housing on the High Street

Anybody that has dealt with the planning office before will know that it can be tricky – there are a myriad of rules and regulations that need to be adhered to.... 

However tough it can be usually there is some method to the madness and those rules are there in some form or another to protect the heritage and feel of the community. Proposed changes to these laws could see change-of-use rules being relaxed and properties in and around your High Street could soon be converted into residential housing.

“Isn’t this a good thing?” I hear you cry. Well yes and no – it depends on which side of the fence you sit! It will certainly breathe some new life into the economy. Empty buildings are better off being used than left vacant. It is good news for those on social housing lists as some of the properties will be set aside for them. My only worry is this – what happens when the economy improves? It’s common knowledge that we go through boom and bust cycles and sadly we are currently at the bottom of the financial rollercoaster, trying to climb back up. Things will improve, the money will return and the High Street will need shops. It’s also common knowledge that rent on residential properties is much higher than that of commercial properties. So when the economy improves and we need those buildings back for commercial use – will they be converted back? I’m not so sure that they will. It’s a tricky situation, I’m sure you’ll agree. Of course we do need more housing and we do need money to be injected back into our economy, but care should be taken not to sell off the High Street. 

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